Chapter 18 : Too Much Information
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He reached the entrance and recited every candy he could think of before “lemon drop” finally inspired the gargoyle guarding the stairwell to move. Haiden climbed the stairs hesitantly, as though he hadn’t completely though this dangerous choice through. Before he could stop himself he was already at the top, and it was too late to decide otherwise. Straightening his green and silver tie, he knocked on the door.
“Enter,” the familiar voice bellowed from behind the large door.
Haiden clicked the door open and meekly slipped inside, hoping for some kind of unpleasant shock to register on the headmaster’s face because he was out of class.
Dumbledore smiled from behind the stacks of clutter atop his large desk, defying expectations, and gestured him to a seat.
“Hello, Mr…er…Professor Dumbledore, sir,” Haiden spoke awkwardly, feeling like a child.
“Haiden! What a surprise! What brings you to see me this morning?” Dumbledore asked cheerfully.
“Well, sir, I-I was talking with Draco last night and…he said something kind of funny, and I didn’t think it was true, and I just wanted to make sure, sir,” Haiden said, kneading his hands in his lap while perspiration beads formed on his brow from nerves.
“I see,” Dumbledore replied. “And what was it that he told you, Haiden?”
“Well sir, he said that my father was a…well, a death eater and that his father was too…or maybe still is, I’m not sure.”
The expression on Dumbledore’s face did not change as he answered.
“Why didn’t you go to your father and ask him first?”
“I figured that if he was a death eater, you’d have never put me with him in the first place. So I came to ask you first because, well…I love my father and I didn’t want to upset him by asking an unnecessary question if he wasn’t so…I asked you.” Haiden let out a large sigh at the end of the sentence as though he’d been holding his breath for weeks.
“Haiden, I put you with your father because I knew he would love you more than anyone else. Your mother, Lily Potter, trusted him very much, as I also trust him. No one could have raised you better than he has.”
“But is he…is he…a death eater?” Haiden whispered the last two words as though he were cursing.
“Severus Snape today is not a death eater nor was he death eater when I placed you in his care. You have always been safe with him. In his past, he has associated with some death eaters, such as Lucius Malfoy, which is why Draco spoke the way he did.”
“But I saw him…in Mr. Malfoy’s pensieve when I was little…I saw him there with the Dark Lord. I don’t remember exactly what was going on, but I saw him there…and those eyes…sometimes I still dream about them. My father was there with them, Professor. I don’t even know what to think about it.”
Dumbledore pursed his lips pensively, adjusting his spectacles before replying.
“You needn’t worry about that, Haiden. I would trust Severus Snape with my life. If you’re angry at anyone for what you’ve seen, what you’ve come to believe about your father…you should be angry at me, not him.”
“I’m not angry,” Haiden said quietly, letting his hands fall from his lap. “After all, he wasn’t a death eater when I was born. But I don’t understand why he would want to be friends with death eaters. I am…after all…the person they were looking to kill.”
“Some people go to extreme lengths to be accepted. Your father got associated with the wrong kind of people. He made mistakes—as we all do at some point—and I promise he’s paid for them dearly. So you shouldn’t worry about your father’s loyalties, Haiden.”
“I won’t. I know better. Thank you, Professor. Draco was just being mean. Sometimes I wish I could be in Gryffindor. I think I’d have made more friends there.”
“It’s our choices that define us, Haiden. You should always remember that.”
“Yes, Professor. I’ve got to be going to transfiguration now. Professor McGonagall will have my head.”
“Here,” Dumbledore flicked his wrist lazily. “This is a pass. You should be safe with this. Next time you wish to see me, however, do come on your study break.”
Haiden nodded and continued to the door, stopping before he stepped outside. He turned back to Dumbledore, whose head was already dipped toward the desk, busy with whatever Haiden has interrupted.
“Thank you, Professor. For everything that you’ve helped me with…so far.”
Looking up, Dumbledore’s face lit up brighter than a tree on Christmas Eve as he responded, “There’s no thanks for me, Haiden. It all belongs to your father.”
Haiden felt the urge to run to his father the moment he stepped from Dumbledore’s office, but how pathetic that would have been. In the back of Haiden’s mind he’d known his father was a good person, and he was absolutely thrilled to have it confirmed.
Later in the day, as Haiden sat in Quirrel’s Defense Against the Dark Arts class, drowsy with sleep, Hermione Granger passed him a quick note.
What was all that drama about yesterday? Did you find anything out about who is trying to steal the sorcerer’s stone?
If Haiden could inconspicuously punch himself in the face, he would have right there in class. As it were, any sudden or loud movement would probably send Professor Quirrell into a hysterical panic. Though it might be funny just to witness that…
Haiden shook his head, trying to push humorous thoughts away. Last night he’d meant to ask Draco about the death eater organization and how it worked, but instead, the idiot had to bring Haiden’s father up. Funny how any mention of his father could throw him off track.
In a messy scrawl across the paper, Haiden replied:
Nothing yet. I’m working on it. I think maybe the Dark Lord’s followers have something to do with it. I’m going to do a bit more thinking on it before I get back to you.
Sighing dramatically, Haiden settled back into his seat. He knew exactly who was trying to get in to the school—Lucius Malfoy. Malfoy was a governor on the school board. He could probably get onto the grounds, no problem. No one would suspect a thing. He followed the Dark Lord in his first reign. Malfoy was the Dark Lord’s friend. He would want to see him rise again.
Everything fit. Lucius Malfoy was trying to find and revive the Dark Lord!
That evening, Haiden decided to forgo dinner in the Great Hall and dined with his father instead at their rickety old kitchen table.
“You turned in a brilliant potions essay today, Haiden. I awarded ten points to Slytherin for it. I think maybe all those years of me forcing you to learn potions recipes actually paid off.” Severus smiled to himself, proud of his young son.
“Thanks, Dad. I do appreciate that. Whatever I can do to help Slytherin,” He mumbled. Now would be the time to strike, while his father was in good spirits.
“I talked to Draco yesterday,” Haiden started conversationally, picking at the chicken on his plate.
“Did you?” Severus asked, interest piqued.
“Yes, I did. He said something interesting, but I think I got things figured out for the most part, so it was nothing, really.”
“Haiden, why were you in Professor Dumbledore’s office this morning instead of Transfiguration?”
“Oh…you already know about that,” Haiden said, laughing nervously as he kept his eyes glued to the table.
“I do. Will you please quit stalling and tell me what was so important that you had to miss class?”
Haiden took a sharp breath inward and decided to go for the dramatics. Slowly, he raised his head, letting his hair fall slightly into his eyes. He caught his father’s eye and frowned deeply as he furrowed his brow.
It was time to get serious.
“Dad. Father. I think Lucius Malfoy is trying to sneak into the castle.”
Haiden waited for the shock, the absolute horror of the thought of Hogwarts being breached by Malfoy, to paint itself across his father’s strong features. Any second now. Terror was going to invade his father’s face and immediate action would be taken. Any second now, his father was going to commend him for seeing what had been looked over and ignored for years. Any second now.
Severus sighed loudly and broke eye contact to look slightly to the left.
That was it? A sigh, and a glance to the left? No terror? No horror? No immediate action? No parade?
“Haiden, Lucius Malfoy is not trying to break into the school. He’s a governor on the board. He has no need to even try. Whatever Draco told you, he was just trying to ruffle your feathers, and it obviously worked well. There is absolutely no reason for you to assume that he would break in. It’s nearly impossible to do anyway. I sincerely hope that this was not the reason you had to skip class this morning.”
Deflated, Haiden sat back in his chair. Severus and Lucius were old friends. His father must be under some kind of spell. That had to be it.
“No, that’s not the reason, it had to do with something else.” Haiden sat back against his chair, lost in thought. “But what if—”
“Drop it, Haiden. I am not going to discuss this nonsense further,” Severus asserted severely.
“Yes, father,” Haiden said, letting his fork clang against the porcelain plate. “May I be excused?”
“No, you may not. Please save the drama for your friends, Haiden. Tell me about your other subjects. You’re doing marvelously in potions. How about Transfiguration and charms?”
Haiden shrugged. “I don’t know why you’re asking. You could probably just go talk to McGonagall or Flitwick, they’d know better than me.”
“Because believe it or not, I’m actually interested in how you think you’re doing, not what the grade books say. Do you like your subjects? Do you like school?” Severus asked, his voice slightly strained.
“I dunno. Charms is alright, I suppose. Transfiguration is interesting enough. Hermione Granger is better than me at everything, and Draco likes to pretend he’s the best but he isn’t.”
Suddenly his father looked pale. His ivory skin glistened with perspiration, and he bit his lower lip, looking very uncomfortable. He shot his son a calculating glance.
“Actually, speaking of Hermione Granger…Do you…like Miss Granger?”
Haiden gazed, perplexed, at his jittery father.
“Yeah, she’s alright.”
“I see. Do you have…feelings for her?”
“I suppose. I have feelings for a lot of people, Dad.” Haiden widened his eyes at his father as Severus refused to make eye contact, instead focusing on a roll in the center of the table.
“Oh you do? A lot of people. I see. Well…how to approach this, then…”
Haiden sighed loudly, not following his dad at all. “But I mean, I feel a lot of things about a lot of people. I have feelings for Draco too, and all the Slytherins really. And some Gryffindors. I have feelings for all the Professors, too.”
Severus seemed to be turning green, and Haiden wasn’t completely sure, but it seemed as though his father wasn’t breathing either.
“The…the Professors as well? And…Draco?”
“Dad! Relax! Everyone has feelings, it’s part of being a human! Are you okay? If it makes you feel better, my feelings toward Draco is usually angry. I feel really angry when he’s in the room. I feel happy when I’m around my friends. I feel gratitude to Hermione because she spends time with me when no one else will! I feel sorry for Professor Flitwick because he’s so short. I feel a lot of things about a lot of different people.”
Completely inexplicably, Severus looked angry and frustrated and relieved, all at the same time. It was a phenomenon, really. First his brow was furrowed, his lips turned down menacingly into a snarl. Then, he pursed his lips, brow still furrowed. And finally, he sat back into his chair, and heaved a heavy sigh.
“Are you…do you want me to get Madame Pomfrey?” Haiden asked, sure his father was going to keel over at any minute.
“No, son. There’s something I need to tell you. Something that you must be wondering about.”
Haiden’s eyes widened. So Dumbledore had spoken with him! His father was finally coming clean, after all these years! Eagerly, he sat on the edge of his chair.
His father cleared his throat, the uncomfortable look returning to his face.
“I’m not sure where to start…”
“It’s okay dad, I understand. Just start where ever is easiest for you.”
Severus took a couple of deep breaths, and Haiden could tell that this news was huge. It was going to take everything in his father’s being to be truthful.
“Okay, Haiden. Son, you’re growing up and getting older,” his baritone echoed through the room as though he was on a loud speaker, “and you’ve probably begun noticing some changes to your body.”
“What?” Haiden asked, the heat rising rapidly to his cheeks. “Oh no…Dad…nooooo.”
“Your voice starts to crack and you get several growth spurts. And…you start noticing…women…or members of the opposite sex…or…well, you know. It’s all normal. It’s called puberty.”
Haiden wanted to crawl in a hole and die. “There’s really no need…I—er—I know most of this already…”
“Your body starts to grow hair…in unexpected places, and your voice deepens. This is due to a hormone called testosterone. Though present in minute amounts in a female’s body, it’s the driving hormone in the male system. When it interacts with certain potions…”
And there was Professor Snape, eager to begin teaching in a subject he was well equipped to teach, thus allowing Haiden to escape the most awkward moment of his entire existence. His father continued on for nearly an hour before finally stopping.
“…and thus the clinical affects of testosterone therapies in men who are looking to enhance the sexual experience.”
Severus had been in his comfort zone so long that the last line slipped and he couldn’t actually imagine explaining what it meant.
“Son, do you know where babies come from?”
Haiden jumped lithely from his seat. “You know what, Dad? Thanks a lot, no seriously, thank you but…hey, some other time, ok? Gotta run…bye!”
The wind of his exit hit Severus gloriously in the face.
Please never ever have that conversation with me again. Draco told me everything three years ago and he heard it from Pansy Parkinson. Also, I used a dictionary to look up dirty words. For the love of Merlin…please…never again…
A/N: I cannot begin to describe how much fun I had writing this chapter! I want to thank everyone who has nominated me for a Dobby, that’s awesome :) I hope you enjoyed this chapter as much as I did!
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